It’s a fresh new year, and many of us have made resolutions to make greener choices. This can include more than just our food; let us also raise a glass of organic or sustainably grown wine. There are many green wines available to choose from, however it is not always made clear to the consumer how the grapes have been grown. If you are like me, you have picked up a boldly labeled inexpensive organic wine from the grocery store only to find it flat and unpalatable. Understandably some quality vintners choose not to advertise their practices so as not to be lumped in with that bad juice. It might surprise you just how many of your top picks are already organic or sustainable, you just need to do a little research.
It is important to understand the labeling used for green wines in the U.S. (Each country has its own set of guidelines.) 100 percent Organic means it contains all organic ingredients and no added sulfites. Organic contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients also with no added sulfites. Made with Organic Ingredients means it must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients and may contain added sulfites. Sulfites occur naturally in all wines in very small amounts as they are a byproduct of fermentation. Wine makers add them as a preservative and stabilizer. They allow the wine to have a longer shelf life and to stand up to transport and storage. Sustainable refers to practices that are ecologically responsible but do not yet have the rigid rules that govern organic certifications.
Two organic wines I love:
Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford, Napa Valley
Made entirely from dry-farmed and certified organically grown grapes this winery doesn’t advertise their organic practices on the front label. This wine is clean and mineral and pairs well with fresh seafood and shellfish.
Bonterra Merlot, Mendocino County
This winery has been making certified organic wines since 1993 and they are passionate about their commitment to the environment. This elegant merlot features plums, cherries, and dark spices. It would be harmonious with lighter red meat such as duck or filet mignon.
When we select a bottle that is organic or sustainably grown we support vineyards free of chemicals, herbicides and insecticides. With a little research you too can find your favorite green wines and support a healthy earth this New Year. In Seaside, for example, Modica Market offers Pacific Redwood’s organic wines, which include chardonnay, merlot and pinot noir.